>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson

May 21, 2006

Essential New Words of the Week: foodhouse/cheesham (definition hint: foreign food?)

I am in a considerable amount of pain right now. Every muscle, nerve, and fiber in my body is screaming bloody murder. Have you ever been so sore that if part of your house caught fire, you’d just lie there and hope it burned itself out? That’s how sore I’ll be when I’ve had a week to rest. Right now, I’m all but immobile. Neighborhood children are cautiously approaching, poking me with a stick, and leaning a plank against me as a bicycle jump take-off ramp.

I should probably just hide under my blanket and not emerge for a week or so. Nevertheless, there are jobs to be done, beverages to be drunk, breast sizes to be estimated, and columns to be written. The mere effort of moving my fingers around the keyboard is torturous, but I know you need your weekly fix of gentle self-deprecation and demented non-sequiturs. I’ll carry on, but I’m going to need a private secretary, a monkey trained to type, or Steven Hawking’s thought-to-speech robochair.

“The next time a girl wants me to lick whipped cream off her nipples, I’m going to insist on using creamed spinach instead.”

You see, over the weekend, I took part in a kind of team urban scavenger hunt/race that pushed me to my physical limits. Sure it was fun, but what it boiled down to was 5 ½ straight hours of running. And I learned something very profound: four years of sustained inactivity, coupled with poor eating, flirtation with alcoholism, and the occasional smoke has left me in no condition to run. Entering this race may have been the worst decision since Les Nessman’s WKRP turkey giveaway.

My racing team consisted of me, a friend, and two extremely hot, competitive girls. I suspected that the girls would run out ahead of me, but I was OK with that: all the better for ass-staring, I figured. They’ll be reading this, no doubt, so I should watch what I write. However, they both know that they’re hot, and if they don’t suspect that men enjoy watching the jiggling buttocks of running girls, they should stop watching so much damn Dr. Phil.

As an added bonus, I thought I would have the opportunity to hang out with my buddy, who’s as slow as I am, as we raced and enjoyed the view. But there were two things I didn’t count on. First, the girls were so far ahead of me that they were practically specks on the horizon—clearly detrimental to ogling. Second, my buddy was not, in fact, as slow as I am. In fact, he’s quite a bit faster than I am, and he very nobly took up a medium distance between me and the girls so that no one would get lost. So, instead of two desirable female asses, I got one sweaty, not-too-desirable male ass in my face all afternoon. And I have no one to blame but myself.

I wasn’t always in such poor shape. In the years that I spent overseas, I maintained a healthy lifestyle. I played basketball, took martial arts classes, and rode a bike everywhere. Since my house was located halfway up a goddamn mountain, I got a vigorous workout almost every day. How healthy was I? Let me put it this way: I actually owned a deep fryer, but the only use I ever got out of it was as a container for my poker chips. And sometimes I wore the basket as a spiffy hat.

But since I’ve been back, I’ve fallen into old, lousy habits. And this race was the wake up call I needed. It’s time to get back in shape. What I really want to work on is endurance. I figure that after some training, I’ll be able to go another 3 hours or so in the sack. And as long as I’m inhabiting this particular fantasy world for the moment, I’m also friends with Superman, and together we ride magical, talking ponies.

The first step of getting in shape is adjusting one’s diet. This requires nothing more than willpower. So, the next time a girl wants me to lick whipped cream off her nipples, I’m going to have to put my foot down and insist on using creamed spinach instead. It might not be as sexy, but it will give me the essential vitamins and nutrients I need.

Actually, selecting food will probably be the easy part. Grocery shopping is an ordeal best avoided, and only suckers blow hard-earned cash at restaurants. I’ve invented a diet that will revolutionize the world. It’s easy to implement, manageable, and even kind of fun. I call it the Survivor Diet™.

You start with a supply of rice. In addition, you can eat whatever you want, but you’re not allowed to exchange money for food at any time. Feel free to beg, borrow, hunt, and steal all you want, but no financial transactions are allowed. Also, feel free to stop bathing. That won’t help you lose weight, but at least everyone around you will be as miserable as you’re going to be. After a while, you’ll realize it’s just easier to go hungry than to scavenge food, and the pounds will melt away.

My place of work sure as hell doesn’t make it easy to eat healthy. You see, on busy weeks, they buy lunch for us almost every day. That’s a nice gesture and all, but they always order from a little pizza/fried chicken place called Double Double. Every city has a joint like this. Their whole gimmick is that they proudly sacrifice quality for quantity. In other words, if you order one pizza/bucket of chicken, you get one free. They’re able to make a profit because everything on the menu is assembled from low-grade compressed grease.

Seriously, there is no way this food could be worse for you unless it was coated in glass shards and pigeon droppings. After I eat it, I genuinely worry that I might go blind. Now, it goes against every instinct to turn down free food, but it looks like I’m going to have to start, or else convince my boss to order from Crazy Paulie’s House of Celery from now on.

Exercise is also a necessity. I don’t care for traditional exercise, in as much as it requires me to be awake, and possibly, sober. However, like everything else in life, there are little things you can do to make the whole experience more enjoyable. For example, if you have your heart set on running, you might as well sing “Eye of the Tiger” as you zoom past confused hobos. If lifting weights is more your thing, you can cover them in hilarious Marmaduke cartoons. Who knew getting into shape could be such fun?

One form of exercise I’ve been enjoying lately is swimming. My apartment building has a fairly nice pool, and because I work a later shift I frequently have it to myself during the day. If you’ve never had the opportunity to swim with the entire pool to yourself, it’s an experience I highly recommend. If it’s good enough for Francis Buxton the Third and Daddy Warbucks, it’s good enough for me.

The problem with swimming is, there’s only so many times I can swim back and forth before I start to get bored. It’s at that point that I’ll cease doing laps and start pretending that I’m Aquaman. Even if it’s not much exercise, I’m surely developing my latent fish telepathy. If I ever meet an octopus, I’ll finally be able to ask him what’s up with the Japanese and their obsession with tentacle rape cartoons.

Going to the gym, though, can be an unmitigated nightmare. Fancy, high-end gyms are full of beautiful people who look like they could crush walnuts between their buttocks and probably do. They’ll make you feel like shit, but you can be sure that they’re building up muscle mass to fill a void of love they never received from mommy and daddy. It’s very reassuring, actually.

On the other end of the spectrum, cheap, city-run “fitness centers” are full of elderly Chinese men who are gross to look at and smell like fermented cabbage. At least, that’s the way it is in my local place. Your mileage may vary. One additional drawback is that these guys are notorious pecker-checkers. I don’t want to generalize here, but given the 6:1 Caucasian/Oriental Penis Aspect Ratio™, you can’t really blame them. I’m all about setting a good example.

If you don’t have the stomach for the gym, you can exercise in the comfort of your own home, thanks to the magic of celebrity workout videos. It doesn’t matter how or why you’re famous, but if you are, I guarantee there’s a VHS video of you out there jumping around or pretending to do karate. I can only assume that these videos get made because society’s fatties think that a workout led by George Foreman will somehow dissolve one of their gravy layers.

But unless you’re really dying to see Kathie Lee Gifford do pelvic thrusts in tight, flesh-tone spandex, these videos should be avoided at all costs. Besides, the celebrity workouts are usually about 25% marching in place, and 75% moronic encouragement about positive life choices and other bullshit. If that crap really worked, the people who write after-school specials must be built like tanks.

Now that summer’s here, it’s time to stop making excuses. The local news tells me I need to get in better shape, and the genitals of the women I’m not fucking confirm it. I may be in a lot of pain, but that’s not going to stop me. The Mr. Universe pageant doesn’t even have a talent portion, so when I win, you’ll know it was purely thanks to hard work. And lots and lots of steroids like Fluoxymesterone, Methandrostenolone, and Stanozolol. If my physique doesn’t improve, at least my spelling will.

Essential New Words of the Week:

foodhouse / cheeseham (‘fudhaus / ‘? izhæm) n/n: This week’s two-for-one ENWotW special comes to us from lovely Montreal. Quebec: a land where French fries come with cheese curds and gravy, and strip clubs encourage you to touch all you want. When I was there with some friends last year, we encountered a little building, off the beaten track, whose sign simply read “Foodhouse.” What could this have been? A restaurant? A supermarket? And in the window, there was a sign containing one simple (compound) word: “Cheeseham.” Is that some kind of sandwich? A city in England? A last name? The world may never know. So, together, the words came to mean anything inexplicable or alarming in the food industry. A place like White Castle is a foodhouse. The stuff in a Lunchables Taco Kit is technically cheeseham.